17 December 2020
The completed duplication of the Pacific Highway will save lives, especially as traffic increases ahead of the Christmas holiday period, Chair of the Australian Trucking Association David Smith said today.
Mr Smith was responding to today’s official celebration of the Pacific Highway upgrade completion – a project of great significance to the trucking industry and every road user.
“The completion of the Pacific Highway duplication is an important moment for Australia and road safety,” Mr Smith said.
“It’s important for Australia because it’s a key freight route. It is the second busiest interstate road freight corridor in Australia,” he said.
“The safety importance of the upgrade is highlighted by the tragic Grafton truck and bus crash, which occurred on 20 October 1989. A semitrailer veered into oncoming traffic and hit a bus on the highway near Grafton. Twenty-one people died and 22 more were injured - the worst crash in Australian road transport history at the time.
“A key recommendation out of the coronial inquiry into the crash was to duplicate the highway.
“The Australian Trucking Association was also established in response to the tragedy,” Mr Smith said.
“The completion of the upgrade is an enormous win for our industry and every road user, and we are so thankful that after so many years of strong bipartisan government commitment, we have finally seen the completed duplication,” he said.
“The upgrade will deliver better safety outcomes for our drivers. Drivers play an essential role and are out on our roads every day, working hard to keep Australia supplied. They deserve better roads,” Mr Smith said.
“On behalf of industry, I want to thank successive NSW and Australian governments for their action and recognition of the importance of this nation building project.
“The completion of the duplication upgrade has come in good timing, as traffic ramps up with motorists hitting the road to visit loved ones or take a well-earned break during the holidays,” he said.
The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the businesses and people of the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism, and viability.